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Council of Europe: 70 year anniversary

The Council of Europe (CoE) is the home of human rights. It created the European Convention on Human Rights and set up the European Court to ensure that countries respect the rights of citizens. The CoE also started the European Day of Languages to celebrate the rich mosaic of languages coexisting in Europe and encourage language learning. In the 70 years of their existence, the CoE achieved so much more. Read all about it on their special anniversary-website.

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Effects of aging in multilingual Netherlands

Aging in a multilingual environment can contribute positively to cognition, but also has consequences for the wellbeing of older adults who age in an environment where the dominant language differs from their mother tongue. Anna Pot's dissertation reports on a large study towards the individual effects of multilingualism on executive functions. It also reports on a qualitative study towards a potential language barrier for older Turkish women who age in the Netherlands. Anna obtained the degree of PhD of the University of Groningen on 31 January 2019.

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Bilingualism no problem for child with Down Syndrome

Children with Down syndrome can and do become bilingual. A research team from Bangor University, led by Dr. Eirini Sanoudaki, found that speaking two languages is not in any way detrimental to the language development of children with Down syndrome. Bangor University is working together with the Down’s Syndrome Association in Wales to examine language in Welsh–English bilingual children with Down syndrome and children exposed to English only. Dr. Sanoudaki: “These are exciting findings and an important step towards supporting bilingual families."

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"Germany: improve minority language education"

In its sixth report on Germany, the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages praises steps taken to protect and promote regional or minority languages. Despite positive developments, improving education for Lower Sorbian, North Frisian, Sater Frisian, Low German and Romani is needed, and providing a sufficient number of trained teachers is becoming a “challenge”. In the judicial and administrative fields, the use of regional or minority languages in practice should be strengthened. While the report praises bilingual signage, the use of these languages by state authorities themselves for work or documents occurs too rarely.

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New Framework Opinion about minorities in Russia

Society in Russia is characterised by a climate of appreciation for an immense variety of ethnic groups, languages and religions; progress has been observed in residency registration and in the field of minority media. However, in a new Opinion by the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, it states that general restrictions on basic freedoms in Russia undermine the ability of persons belonging to national minorities to fully exercise their rights. Key findings are the marginalisation of national minorities against the backdrop of the increasing emphasis on the Russian language and culture, and the reduction of minority language education.

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Teaching method ⵜⵛ ⵡⴰⵡⵊⴹⵎ! entirely written in Amazigh

Amazigh (Berber)

Mercator Network partner CIEMEN proudly presents the method ⵜⵛ ⵡⴰⵡⵊⴹⵎ!, entirely written in the Amazigh (Berber) language in the Tifinagh alphabet. The method consists of 24 units: each unit is devoted to a specific topic and includes a dialogue, comprehension questions, concise grammatical notions, exercises and a complementary activity, with visual and sound support. The units are somewhat adapted to the dialects spoken by central and southern Moroccan Amazighs (Atlas); CIEMEN's wish for the future is to make a similar version adapted to Riffian dialects. The first units are now freely available for download. The content was prepared by a team coordinated by Prof. Dr. Carles Murcia (University of Barcelona, coauthor from the Dictionary Catalan-Amazic/ Amazic-Catalan) and Aziz Baha, Abdellah Ihmadi and Mohamed Kaddoumi, teachers at Casa Amaziga de Catalunya.




Reading, 21-22 March 2019, Multilingual Challenges

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Journal LSC: special about Catalan Sign Language

The 16th issue of the electronic journal Electronic, Language and Society (LSC) is all about 'Sign language, made visible' ('Les llengües de signes, fetes visibles'). The journal features articles about e.g. the deaf community in Catalonia, the teaching of the Catalan sign language as L1 and L2, and sign language in the Balearic Islands. LSC is made by the University Center for Sociolinguistics and Communication (CUSC) and is available for download. A call for abstracts for the next edition on 'new perspectives in the field of initial language learning' is now open.

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Report: Migrants & minority language in healthcare

A new and easily readable Report on Migrants and the Role of the Minority language in Healthcare: A Theoretical and Practical Analysis, an overview gives insight into policies and practices in five European regions regarding minority language learning of health care personnel that immigrated into bilingual areas, and presents survey results about skills and attitudes when learning a minority language. The report is a product from the Erasmus+ funded COMBI project; Spanish, Italian, Finnish and Dutch translations of the report will be available soon.

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Early career researchers in plurilingualism & education!


ENROPE is an Erasmus+ project building a European Network for Junior Researchers in the Field of Plurilingualism and Education. As its centrepiece, it offers an Intensive Study Programme for early career researchers (MA, doctoral, postdoctoral), consisting of annual Intensive Study Weeks (ISWs) and Online Study Phases. The first ISW is from 17-21 June, 2019 at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. It will provide participants with rich opportunities to discuss issues of pluri-/ multilingualism and education with experts and peers, advance their individual research projects, reflect on their personal identities as researchers and educators, and develop their professional competencies through innovative (digital) tools. No participation fees will be charged and scholarships for travel expenses are available.

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Iceland worried about English language invasion

In Iceland, the use of English has exploded in recent years. Researchers are now worried that young Icelanders will learn English at a younger age, at the risk of being less fluent in Icelandic. The minister announced a vast plan of support for Icelandic. with an investment of nearly 17 million and a half euros over three years. One of the goals: to develop the Icelandic voice recognition for Apple and Google assistants.

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Normandy wants to revive the Norman language

The Normandy Region announced a plan to promote the Norman language. The creation of an Academy, an atlas and the financing of Norman signage are just a few of the new projects. The Norman language is among the 'seriously endangered' languages according to UNESCO. "I would especially like the Norman to be reintroduced in primary schools, and high schools," said Hervé Morin, president of the Normandy Region.

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Indigenous languages of Russia and beyond


2019 has been announced by the United Nations as the International Year of Indigenous Languages. In this context, the Institute of Linguistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow) is organizing an international conference “Linguistic Forum 2019: Indigenous languages of Russia and beyond”, to be held on April 4-6, 2019 in Moscow, Russia. The conference is organized in partnership with CIPL. The goal of the conference is to provide a forum for dialogue between experts working on documentation and description of Indigenous languages, on teaching, maintaining and revitalizing languages, on creation of multimedia resources on indigenous languages as well as on a range of related topics. Special theme of the conference is: 'Indigenous languages in an urbanizing world'.

Translate websites and documents yourself!

Norbert Kiss

In these Mercator Network Newsletters, we offer you a large variety of links to publications about multilingualism in all sorts of languages. Translating a webpage or article by yourself is easier than you think. You can use a translator from (for example) DeepL or Google for small pieces of text, or use them to automatically translate Word- and ppt-documents. Google Translate can also translate pdf- and excel-files for you. If you want to translate full webpages, you can use Google Translate again (paste the website url in the left field and click on the 'translated url' in the right), but you can also use your browser. For example:
* In Google Chrome, go to Settings> Advanced> Languages> Language> and switch on: Offer to translate pages... With a right mouse click, you can now translate all the web page text into the language of your choice;
* In Firefox, go to Menu>Add-Ons>Search more Add-ons>Search for 'translate'>Chose one of the Translate Add-ons of your choice;
* In Opera and Safari: install a translate extensions from the internet or Safari Gallery;
* In Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge, use the Microsoft Translator Application from the Microsoft Store or install the Bing Bar;
What do you use to translate your pages and documents? Share your tricks and ideas with us!


14 - 16 February 2019, York (United Kingdom)
Language, Identity and Education in Multilingual Contexts (LIEMC19)
Organized by University of York.

22 - 24 March 2019, Reading (United Kingdom)
ECSPM Symposium: multilingual challenges: mediating images, languages and language pedagogy
Organized by ECSPM and the Centre of Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM), University of Reading.

25 - 27 March 2019, Valetta (Malta)
2nd International Conference on Bilingualism
Organized by University of Malta.

4 - 6 April 2019, Moscow (Russia)
Linguistic Forum 2019: Indigenous languages of Russia and beyond
Organized by the the Institute of Linguistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the CIPL.

8 - 10 April 2019, Jönköping (Sweden)
Multilingualism, Diversity and Democracy (MuDD) Conference 2019
Organized by the School of Education and Communication, Jönköping University.

9 - 11 May 2018, Corfu (Greece)
Multilingual Language Theories and Practices (MLTP2019)
Organized by MultiLingNet and Ionian University.

15 - 16 May 2019, Hamar (Norway)
Multilingual Childhoods: Education, Policy and Practice (MC 2019)
Organized by Inland Norway University and Oslo Metropolitan University.

21 - 23 May 2019, Bielefeld (Germany)
International Conference on Multilingualism and Multilingual Education (ICMME 19)
Organized by Bielefeld University.

22 - 24 May 2019, Leeuwarden (The Netherlands)
17th International Conference on Minority Languages (ICML XVII)
Organized by Mercator European Research Centre.

29 - 30 May 2019, Västerås (Sweden)
Interactional Competences and Practices in a Second Language (ICOP-L2)
Organized by Mälardalen University.

17 - 19 June 2019, Jyväskylä (Finland)
Thinking, Doing, Learning: Usage based perspectives on second language learning (TDL4)
Organized by University of Jyväskylä.

26 - 28 June 2019, Leeuwarden/ Ljouwert (The Netherlands)
International Conference on Language Variation in Europe (ICLaVE 10)
Organized by Fryske Akademy.

2 July 2019, Cambridge (United Kingdom)
Ninth Cambridge Conference on Language Endangerment
* Deadline Call for Papers: 7 April 2019
Organized by the University of Cambridge.

3 - 5 July 2019, Soria (Spain)
Fifth International Colloquium on Languages, Cultures, Identity in Schools and Society
Organized by the Loyola Marymount University School of Education.

8 - 11 July 2019, Athens (Greece)
12th Annual International Conference on Languages & Linguistics
* Deadline Call for Papers: 11 March 2019
Organized by the Athens Institute for Education and Research (ATINER) and the Athens Journal of Philology.

27 - 28 August 2019, Chania (Crete, Greece)
International Symposium on Monolingual and Bilingual Speech 2019 (ISMBS 2019)
Organized by the Institute of Monolingual and Bilingual Speech.

17 - 20 September 2019, Barcelona (Spain)
6th Barcelona Summer School on Bi- and Multilingualism (BSBM)
Organized by Pompeu Fabra University.

14 - 15 November 2019, Udine (Italy)
2nd International Colloquium on Plurilingualism (2nd ICP )
* Deadline Call for Papers: 30 April 2019
Organized by Udine University / Centro Internazionale sul Plurilinguismo.

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